The Long and Winding Road

Name that song…

This blog post is a combination of three of my favourite things (no…not that…and not that either…) – serendipity, The Beatles and writing.
As you’ll have read on this blog – and many others – a modern assumption, aided and abetted by the Internet and social media, is that you can gameplan your way to writing success. Masterclasses, editorial consultants, workshops, agents, publishers, street teams, and comprehensive strategies – all these and more, we are told, will assureyou of eventual success. 

Now, before we get into a hoo-ha, let me state for the record that I have no issue with any of the aforementioned in themselves. Why would I when I can personally tick them off my own list (apart from a masterclass, which I couldn’t afford!).
But…I’m acutely aware of the role that serendipity has in creative success, and I think it’s so often underplayed. To illustrate my point, here is an extremely potted history of The Beatles.
The early line-up was John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best. Stuart left the band to concentrate on his art studies. Brian Epstein saw the band at the Cavern Club, liked them and became their manager in 1962. The same year, Decca Records rejected the group, commenting that: “Guitar groups are on the way out, Mr. Epstein.” Despite that sage advice, George Martin subsequently signed them up for EMI’s Parlophone label. Stuart Sutcliffe died tragically, aged 22. Ringo Starr (who’d previously been part of Rory Storm and the Hurricanes) replaced Pete Best, a move not universally popular with fans. A total of 12 original UK albums were released between 1963 and 1970, along with over 50 singles. After the band separated in 1970, all four Beatles went on to have solo careers, along with Paul McCartney creating Wings and George Harrison being part of The Travelling Wilburys. John Lennon was murdered in 1980 and George Harrison died in 2001.
Beatle related controversies include:
1. Pete Best being ousted from the band.
2. The original ‘butcher’ cover on the compilation album Yesterday and Today. 3. John Lennon’s oft-quoted (usually out of context) comment about The Beatles being ‘bigger than Jesus’.
4. Their time with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
5. More recently, Paul McCartney asking for some songs to now be credited to McCartney / Lennon rather than the other way around.
6. A lawsuit against George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord brought by Bright Tunes for alleged copyright infringement of the Ronnie Mack song ‘He’s So Fine’.
I know, all too brief and not enough detail. Buy some books instead!
My point, other than to stimulate your Beatles-related curiosity, is to remind all us writers that fate, chance, or circumstance – call to what you will – has its part to play. Hindsight can make the improbable seem inevitable, and we never fully appreciate all the factors that contribute to success.
They can include:
– Inspiration and influences
– Talent
– Meeting the ‘right’ people for something to happen
– Making connections
– Timing
– What’s going on in the world outside your creative endeavours
– Motivation
– Who’s backing you and what influence they have
– What came before you
– What you encounter once you’ve generated some momentum
– Any controversy you become embroiled with
– How people feel towards you and your creative output
– How long it takes to reach sustainability
– Economics – yours, the business’s and the marketplace

Or, as the Fab Four might have put it themselves: I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party – What Goes On – All You Need is Love – I Should Have Known Better – We Can Work It Out – With a Little Help from My Friends – Misery – Revolution – Paperback Writer.

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